THE ALHEIT VINEYARD
One of the most talked about new wineries in South Africa is Chris and Suzaan Alheit’s Alheit Vineyards, a new venture based in Hemel en Aarde, but sourcing grapes from all over the place. Chris and Suzaan work just with white grapes, mainly Chenin Blanc but also a bit of Semillon, and their debut wine, Cartology 2011, made a big impact on its release, getting some hefty critic scores.
The rave reviews for Cartology are well deserved, but some of the point scorers who went big run the risk of running out of points when Chris and Suzaan really hit their stride. ‘Cartology is our village wine,’ Chris says.
‘We want to start building up a portfolio of single cru wines, all based on traditional cape varieties, specifically Chenin.
This vineyard is 520 m above sea level, out in the wilderness. ‘Skurfberg is way past anywhere anyone thinks you can grow good wine latitude wise,’ says Chris, but the altitude coupled with the soil makes it a good site. ‘It is really high up, on a belt of mountains between the West Coast and Clanwilliam. It is populated with these 90 year old bush vines that look like little bonsais. The soil is sandveld, the top is mostly sand, then it goes into loam and then into clay.’
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